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Category — autumn

Samhain by the Ocean

Beautiful and quiet week, catching up on sleep, knitting, having lovely food cooked for me. The beginnings of mellow winter sunlight, crab apples, pumpkins, rosehip and birch. Feeling a sadness for this last visit this year to my ocean of the east, and a rightness in getting myself ready for the rich, dark dreaming time that Samhain ushers in. Wishing you all the most gentle of late autumn time, may all changes be for the good.

November 1, 2013   No Comments

Stitching, walking, thinking

I will not die an unlived life
I will not not live in fear of falling or catching fire
I choose to inhabit my days
To allow my living to open me,
To make me less afraid, more accessible,
To loosen my heart
Until it becomes a wing, a torch, a promise.
I choose to risk my significance;
To live so that which came to me as seed
Goes to the next as blossom
And that which came to me as blossom
Goes on as fruit.

Dawna Markova

October 25, 2013   No Comments

Today I feel…..

I have a postcard on my bedroom wall that says: “Today I feel a bit normal”

Now clearly, this is far removed from what I actually feel. But it struck me recently as a rather sensible and splendid goal to have in mind, each day, you know – like something to aim for.

And while I am waiting for this ‘normal’ to float down gracefully into my world, like little pieces of stardust, then it is good to have certain things around me, to keep me going.

Like a lit stove on a rainy Sunday – the first of the season

And the furriest of all onesies, with small soft grey ears (people are kinder to you when you have little fluffy ears – did you know that?)

And fresh flowers from the allotment

A reminder that in one way or another, we all have tough times at some point or another, they pass, but in the meantime, kindness goes a long way. And where there can’t be kindness, boundaries keep you safe.

And best of all, sweet friends to invite you to candlelit breakfasts

And other sweet friends who send you lovely pieces of writing like this and the words: “I have sea foam in my veins, for I understand the language of waves”, which will make you breathe out deeply and start again.

October 13, 2013   2 Comments


I am back from my dear Norfolk ocean and place of quietness…straight in to full on teenagers, Halloween happenings, yarn episodes and all sorts of hit-the-ground running shenanigans…..quite enough to turn my hair grey…or pink (thank you oh wondrous Lily, friend of teenage daughter)

But I am skipping ahead…that was the end of my mad week. No, it started innocently enough on Monday, at three minutes before bedtime (my bedtime that is, my kids are often lawless in the land of nod) – with a ‘mum, I need a Halloween costume IMMEDIATELY and so what I need you to do is wrap me tightly in cling film, and then cover me with yellow duct tape’. Of course you do.

Now, this was turning out to be some horrific 50 Shades of Yellow b-movie, but it ended reasonably well, all things considered, and really quite sculptural (it’s a Pikachu outfit in case you were wondering. I wasn’t, at 10.53pm)

The middle of the week was intense, and soul searching, with dear land and ocean sisters holding me gently (I love you)…including witchery in the woods, talking around a fire, talking over the phone, and even a pumpkin soup picnic.

….a very perfect antidote to all the sugar and adrenaline that was steamrollering our way.

There has been trick or treating, lighting of ancestor candles, and even the excitement of Stroud’s first yarn bomb…woohooo….

and all the while the season turns colour quietly and steadily

A world away from my salt marsh and herons, this is another kind of life-living – a good kind, but crazy kind. It is all part of the soup that makes up my world I guess. The trick is to give in to the flow of it, I’ve decided. Surrender to busyness, but remembering to breathe. Don your best stripy tights, let teenagers organise your hair, love it, and live it.

Until next time, this is Jaine Rose, queen of pink and perky, (and sometimes much weeping) signing off.

November 5, 2012   3 Comments

The Quilt of Terror….

There’s nothing like a bit of leaf blowing and single figure temperatures to have me wistfully wandering back to the light, bright days of late summer….and so it is back to early September that I am journeying to today.

And more specifically to my daughter Holly’s 16th birthday, oh and my 44th! We share! Pretty cool, huh? Well, I had decided about 8 months before that to make her a quilt, something really special, that she would treasure (did you ever meet a 16 year old that fantasised about home-made family heirlooms? No, that would be a 44 year old) No worries.

I had forgotten to remind myself that I had never actually made a proper quilt. Even better, I had decided in my very non-virgo way to leave it all to about 3 weeks before her actual birthday. Of course, we all know, denial is not a river in Egypt….

Don’t be fooled by this happy, confidant woman laying out the pieces. I had the ‘dummie guide to quilt making’ stuffed up my jumper, and a rising feeling of terror at those squares of pinkness. Worse still, quilt making best friend had selfishly hoofed off to Cornwall, leaving me QUITE ALONE……

But one thing led to another, and I found myself actually just doing it…zipping up those babies, stitching one row to another, keeping going, ironing, keeping going. I had pieces of dresses that Holly wore as a little girl, favourite pyjamas, things that I have worn over the years, and most specially pieces from her grandmother and great grandmother. Lots of stories, all joined up.

It got a little crazy quilting it with my Husquavarna machine…she’s a very accommodating old lady when she’s in the mood. Bought the softest batting and brushed cotton piece for the back – how very technical of me…. and this is what it finished up looking like:

The last bit of backstitching went in the night before…so right up to the wire, but hey…I did it!! And even more perfect, she loved it.

My sweet girl, with a ring in her nose, and an attitude to match, quietly listening to the stories of the fabric, and still agreeing to wear the birthday crown. My happy heart.

There was cake, lots. And sunshine, and wonderment that sixteen years had whooshed by in a naughty nano-second.

And it is true that she loved and appreciated all the work I had done on her surprise quilt. But do you know what totally rocked my baby-girls birthday world?

That would be the pair of kick-ass purple Doc Martens that I bought her….

November 1, 2012   3 Comments

From the Ocean….Samhain Mists

We are here for one last time this year…always the sweetest trip, saying goodbye to my Ocean of the East for another season. Here is a little patchwork then of our days….who am I trying to kid? It is a stupidly HUGE patchwork….honestly people…stop me. Before I have someone’s eye out. It’s just that there is so much colour and sea fog, and autumn leaves, and oh…oh….

:: Skulking around Morston harbour, on the look out for crabs, and being wildly distracted by boats :: the gentlest of sea fogs comes down and enfolds us in grey quietness :: walking deserted beaches and silent creeks :: splashes of burnt orange and reds in my winter hat, sea buckthorn and more boats (all planned to match of course) :: woodlands full to bursting with fungi, with all the damp and wet we’ve been having :: a very big treat of homemade gluten free bread and raspberry jam (thank you Bad Jo and Gari) :: falling in love for the hundredth time with autumn birches (I am a Birch Sister, it is official) :: swishing through leaves in late afternoon light :: beach huts at Wells (I noticed one for sale with Sowerbys) :: enjoying sweet chestnut trees, not so many where I live :: beautiful cobwebs making me feel very witchy in a magic sort of way :: the pink wellies of all happiness :: harbour yellows :: seasons turning :: lots of woolly thinking, a gynormous plan emerges……

October 25, 2012   4 Comments

Lunar Samhain, plus sparkle…..

After fizzing off into outer space with all the excitement and glory of last week’s demo, it seemed that I was ready for something a little more kitchen table based, and intricate, grounding.

O.k, I know that a mad, sparkly handicraft workshop for a bunch of teenage girls doesn’t sound exactly restful, but it brought me home again, and landed me right back in the moment.

Do you remember a while back that I told you about our Red Hearth – a magical, local space where us witchy, earthy women meet all summer long? Well, it is also a space where young girls gather and giggle – they are called ‘Moon Sisters’. More recently our teenage girls have been learning how it is to talk in circle, support each other, celebrate….and of course…apply a mass of sparkle and glitter wherever possible. Which is where I came in.

It was a real blast seeing the creativity oozing out of these fab girls…and all the different things they did with my box of sequins, beads and batik. Things I could only dream of frankly….how is it that young people are so uninhibited and free, colourful and wild? I watched them closely and learned much.

So after landing, I journeyed back to the Red Hearth on Monday, for lunar Samahain. This is a very special time for us witches – it is a time to honour ancestors, wise ones who have gone before us. It is a time to welcome in the winter, and know that rest and quietness is coming. For me, it is a chance to sit and look at my life, and let die what needs to die. Breathe. Let go. Surrender.

And so the fire was lit, the songs sung, the cake shared, and the talking stick (stone) passed around once more this year, as witness to our precious journeys.

After which the quiet work of getting our roundhouse ready for winter begun, singing all the while: ‘the earth, the air, the fire, the water, return, return, return, return’…….

We had older hands, mother hands and best of all, young baby hands, who will someday become ‘moon daughters’ and until that time will shake rattles, squabble over hazel sticks, and fill the hearth with their loud toddler happiness and spontaneity – all great background music to our autumn ears.

Carpets were shaken out, a summer’s worth of stories and singing tumbling out with the dust…and underneath we found a lost talking stone, a shell fossil from when this land was covered by ocean, that had been hiding all this time, quietly listening and watching. I am to be its guardian over the winter, and will return it in the springtime.

Pathways were trod one last time, arms laden with blankets, sheepskins, cushions and colourful fabrics, all returned inside for safekeeping.

So Samhain blessings on all that is seen, all that is unseen, all that is. May rest find you, gentleness enfold you. May the darkness bring endings, and the return of all good things. Blessed be.

October 16, 2012   2 Comments

Potion making from the witch tree….

Hello again! I am back with something a little earthier today. After all, it can’t be pastry and petticoats all the time….. so with the waning moon over my shoulder, I went a witching, off to a little grove of elder trees I had had my eye on since the summer.

It’s often hard to find Elder trees near to my house that I can reach (especially with my little legs) so I have been staking out a good spot for a while. This particular little patch belongs to Thistledown – a fab nature reserve a hop and a skip from Stroud, and Ryan there was up for a bit of bartering, along the lines of ‘you let me have your berries, and I will make you some kick-ass winter potion’ (I think I may have scared him into submission)

Now, Elder trees are rather special to us hedge witches – and we always remain respectful of the Elder Mother who is said to live in the tree. My lovely friend Glennie Kindred has this to say: “The Elder represents the end in the beginning and the beginning in the end. It teaches us to honour the cycle of death and rebirth, that in all endings there is always a new beginning.”

This was a gorgeous autumn day, and I said a small farewell to our summer, poised among all this equinox change, and picked the berries with a thought about the deep winter that is to come, and potions to be made.

Holly helped me ping all the tiny wee berries into a bowl – it’s a good job to share, and some useful witch medicine to hand down, mother to daughter.

Last year I made a rather foxy little elderberry liqueur that we drank hot when the coughs and colds came. This year I felt like being a bit more purist, so I made a tincture, with far less sugar, and gave it a kick with a big twist of chilli. (Chilli is fantastic for giving ‘power’ to tinctures and remedies)

So this is what I did:

:: Put berries in to a pan, with enough water to cover them. Bring to the boil and simmer for 20 mins.

:: Strain the gorgeous black mixture through muslin in a sieve

:: Put the liquid back into a pan and add the other ingredients. I added cloves, rosemary, ginger root, chilli, mixed spice and 200g brown sugar

:: Gently boil for 10 mins until it is syrupy

:: Add vodka (I used about 70cl)

:: Cool and pour into sterilised bottles

It is a potion that is full of Vit C and has great healing properties for winter bugs. This batch was quite sharp, and the chilli made my eyes water a bit! The amount of alcohol I used gave it quite a kick, but that’s what I love, when I am all shivery and getting a cold. It is wonderfully spicy.

A perfect, autumn antidote for all the sugary shenanigans I have been sidetracked into recently. Thank you Mother Elder.

October 7, 2012   1 Comment

September Love

A patchwork of reasons to be loving September…..

:: One lovely and tough sunflower (of dozens planted) that made it through our monsoon summer – shining at me outside my window

:: Handknitted socks on their way to me, knitted by a best friend for my birthday

:: 10 weeks wheat free, and feeling so SO much better…particularly once I discovered a magical chocolate cake recipe (thanks Dom)

:: My front garden sitting prettily in September’s sunshine

:: A jar of homemade raspberry jam that the pixies left (o.k, my next door neighbour Gari) on my doorstep one afternoon

:: A fab party in our local apple orchard for my friend Susie – a tree bedecked with ribbons!

:: My birthday hat of all splendidness…..which I have been waiting for a break in the rain, to wear

:: Lots of great vegetables at our Stroud Community Supported farm which I visit each Wednesday morning

:: Sighing over my friend Jilly’s new vintage teaset business, and hiring out a cake stand myself for the Cake & Bake show

:: Feeling quite peachy about my tomatoes growing in the greenhouse, yay!

:: Laughing at our eccentric and quirky Country Fayre held at our local pub, the Crown & Sceptre

:: Cucumbers and Courgettes which will keep rolling in through September

:: My dear friends, packing cards like crazy, in the run up to a show, to help me out

:: Loving the fact that we have our own local spring with fresh, clear, ice cold water to fill bottles from

:: As small as my garden is, I have still managed to cram in an apple tree, cherry, apricot and plum….so apple crumble all round this   month

Thank you September, I love yooooooooooooooo!

September 25, 2012   2 Comments

Finding balance

Summer gently tips into early autumn, the Equinox pulls all things into balance, and I notice the blustery winds that often come at this time of the year. It feels to me like a settling of accounts, or a resistance to let go, and I begin to look around me, at this push and pull.

I cannot quite let go of summer, but I love the new flush of autumn berries.

I breathe out slowly, along favourite familiar pathways. But I am holding my breath as I step into new, scary adventures with my work.

In my world, there is handmade (a present for Susi) and nature made (from our Farmer’s Market)

What takes us a long time and a lot of human effort – working with a community woodland group sourcing local wood for our wood stove (thank you Mark), nature grows effortlessly and in abundance (ho! to the hips).

In looking for balance, I find I love my early morning walks over fields, alone and quiet, but also love a little nighttime wildness with friends, celebrating big birthdays.

And as ever, wherever I am, there is order and disorder…

And so even though I need to stay focused for the time being on this latest bubble of work, I cannot help but sit in the sunshine doing lovely repetitive jobs like harvesting lavender – thinking about what is useful and which stalky bits I no longer need.

This time of the year sings to my soul – it really does – and I smile at the miracle that bit by bit I have managed to do some of what I set out to do earlier in the year. Those tiny seeds I planted deep in wintertime have grown and flown. And the leaves turn quietly.

September 19, 2012   4 Comments